A human baby born in India with a “tail” has some people thinking it's an evolutionary throwback.
The baby born with a tail is no evidence of evolution
Crowds converged on temples in India to see a baby born with a “tail” in 2001.
Many believed the boy was a reincarnated Hindu god. The boy, at one-year old when this report came out in early 2002, was named Balaji, another name for the monkey-faced god Lord Hanuman.
The Indian baby's “tail” was 10 centimeters long, and the boy was being exhibited in temples throughout India, where people paid to see him.
Indian newspaper The Tribune said the boy's grandfather showed journalists nine spots on the baby's body, which is what Lord Hanuman supposedly had.
Cases of babies with “tails” surface occasionally. A paper in The New England Journal of Medicine in 1982 by Dr. Fred Ledley was titled “Evolution and the Human Tail.” But are human “tails” really evidence of evolution?
There are two types of tails involved in this discussion. The non-bony tail, and the bony tail.
This Indian baby's “tail”, like nearly all cases of human “tails”, is not a real tail. And it is not evidence of evolution. It doesn't have any bones in it, doesn't have fur like a monkey's tail, and doesn't have a nerve cord.
Also, the boy can't use it like a monkey uses its tail to wrap around branches, and it is so different from a monkey's tail that it shouldn't be called a tail at all. No monkey or ape would be proud to have this “tail”, because it is a useless, non-functioning appendage.
Does this baby's tail have anything to do with the idea that humans and monkeys may be related? Not in the slightest. It is just skin and fatty tissue, and can easily be cut off.
As biologist Dr. Gary Parker once said about these fatty tumor tails: “So far as I know, no one claims we evolved from an animal with a fatty tumor at the end of its spine.”
The second type of “tail”, a rarer type, is one that has bone in it. For some strange reason, a few otherwise-intelligent evolutionists suspend their commonsense on this subject and claim that this is evidence that humans evolved from creatures with tails.
But this is like recognizing faces of your friends in clouds. You read into the facts an assumption that is not supported by the facts.
Even if every human had a bony tail a few inches long, it couldn't possibly show that humans have evolved from monkeys. That's because the existence of something is not evidence of its origin.
In August 2004 there were reports of a baby born in Cambodia with a 10-centimetre (4-inch) “tail”. But at least the media reported this simply as “a spine considerably longer than normal”, and did not make incorrect assertions that it had anything to do with evolution.
Abnormalities, sadly, occur in humans as well as in animals. And sometimes simple ailments such as back aches are wrongly claimed to be a result of evolution.
It is worth looking at this “tail” claim from another angle.
Evolutionists have for decades pooh-poohed anyone who says humans evolved from monkeys. They insist we evolved not from monkey-like creatures, but from ape-like creatures (they usually phrase it: “humans share a common ancestor with apes”).
Did we evolve from monkeys or apes?
Monkeys generally have tails and apes don't. If evolutionists believe that the bony tail is evidence that we evolved from monkey-type creatures, why do they insist that we evolved from a common ancestor with apes, which don't have tails?
Which tailed ape is this anomaly supposed to be throwing back to anyway? If you go through the apes and alleged ape-men claimed to be in humans' evolutionary lineage, you can't find one that had a tail like this baby's appendage, because it is useless as a tail.
And isn't natural selection supposed to favor improvements, and not impediments? Why then would natural selection cause something as useful as a tail to wither into an encumbrance and then disappear?
The TalkOrigins website thinks that some “tail” abnormalities on humans are evidence of evolution, and at the time of writing they point out that there is “at least one known example of a primate tail that lacks vertebrae, as found in the rudimentary two-inch-long tail of Macaca sylvanus (the 'Barbary ape')”.
Unfortunately, we could not find any other evolutionists who were willing to say that a tail that lacks vertebrae on a human is evidence that a Barbary ape turned into a human. And we must point out that the Barbary “ape” is actually a monkey, not an ape, and most monkeys have tails anyway. So how does it help the evolutionists' belief that ape-like creatures turned into humans by saying that a monkey has a tail?
We also could not find evidence that the Barbary macaque is considered to be closer to humanity than, say, the rhesus macaque, which has a long tail (see drawing at right). But we will continue looking.
Evolutionists notoriously change their evidence to suit the occasion. So they can't blame people for treating evolution as something of a “fairy tail”.
Baby born with 4 arms and 4 legs
As further evidence that evolutionists' claims about abnormalities such as baby tails have nothing to do with evolutionary throwbacks, consider the more recent case of a girl in India who was born with 4 arms and 4 legs.
The case of Lakshmi Tatma got worldwide media attention in November 2007 when doctors successfully operated on the 2-year-old girl. (See Daily Mail article with photos.)
The girl was joined at the pelvis to what was, in effect, a headless, undeveloped twin.
If it suited diehard evolutionists' purposes, some would surely say this unfortunate 8-limbed girl was evidence that humans evolved from spiders. But they don't claim that, and rightly so, because everyone knows humans didn't evolve from spiders.
Baby born with 24 fingers and toes
And look at the case of a baby boy born with 24 fingers and toes, reported by the BBC and other media outlets on February 5, 2009. The boy was born in California at the Bay Area Hospital, and had 6 digits on each hand and foot.
As far as we are aware, no evolutionist has claimed this is an evolutionary throwback to a time when some creature with 24 digits was evolving into a human. That's because it doesn't suit their agenda to link a 24-digit creature with human evolution. Yet the link would be no more far-fetched than is their imaginative link to a baby with a tail.
Baby born with two heads
And take the sad case of a baby boy born in Bangladesh on August 25, 2008. He had two heads, and lived only a few days. (See photo at Telegraph.co.uk.)
The boy, named Kiron, was born from one embryo. The mother's gynecologist, Mohamad Abdul Bari, said the baby had one stomach and ate normally with his two mouths. He had one genital organ and a full normal set of limbs.
No evolutionist claimed that the boy's two heads indicated anything about evolution. Because there is no creature with two heads they can link with this baby.
Yet the “tail” abnormality is promoted by a few imaginative evolutionists as evidence that we evolved from monkeys or apes with tails.
It is nothing of the sort.
Human babies born with tails are no more evidence that humans evolved from apes or monkeys than human babies born with 8 limbs are evidence that we evolved from spiders.
For a refutation of the misleading article on “human tails” on the TalkOrigins website see the CMI article Human tails and fairy tales.